An Easter treat for athletics fans the Comeback 5000 returns to Battersea Park for an afternoon of 5K action with a festival feel. Spectating is free!
CONGRATULATIONS to Samantha Harrison and Ben Connor who won the elite women’s and men’s races respectively at the Comeback 5000 on a glorious day in the sunshine at Battersea Park Millennium Arena. Harrison won the women’s race with a dominant display in a new PB of 15:32.07. Hannah Irwin in second and Georgia Bell (in a PB of 16:08.42) in third filled the podium places.
In the men’s race, Ben Connor kicked away from Zakariya Mahamed with 600 metres to go to win in a time of 13:49.15. Zakariya finished second in a new PB of 14:01.05 with his brother Mahamed finishing in third place. Stay tuned here for news of the next Comeback 5000 event as soon as published.
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Organised by Meet Directors Lloyd Kempson and Steve Gardner and hosted by Friday Night Under The Lights and Belgrave Harriers, this afternoon’s Comeback 5000 action (supported by Pro:Direct Running) at the Battersea Park Millennium Arena features some of Great Britain’s top runners.
Twelve and a half laps of the track is the 5K distance that parkrun has made familiar to so many, and this afternoon offers a great opportunity to get up close up and personal with elite athletes as they take on the distance in the capital. See our ‘ones to watch’ below.
Racing starts at 12.30pm with graded open races for club runners before concluding with the men’s and women’s elite races – a total of eight races in all, seeded by PB and getting progressively faster. And in addition to serious bragging rights at stake in the men’s and women’s elite races, is an equal split of a guaranteed prize pot of £2,000.
With music, beers and a festival vibe to accompany the action, all tracks lead to south-west London this afternoon for the Comeback 5000 and what promises to be a memorable Good Friday of top-class athletics.
There’s #nothinglikebeingthere but if you’re not able to be in Battersea check out the Pro:Direct Running YouTube channel for a live stream of the races.
ONES TO WATCH
Elite Men: race starts at 3.05pm
The fastest man in the field over 5K is Olympian Ben Connor who ran the marathon in Tokyo and this afternoon drops back down to a distance where he has a PB of 13:19. Phil Sesemann is another marathon specialist who ran 2:12.58 on debut last year, but also has serious track pedigree with a 5K PB of 13:39 from 2020. Both Sesemann and Connor have recently been selected for the British Athletics marathon team for the European Championships in Munich this August.
Mahamed Mahamed could be the surprise package in the field after his brilliant form during the cross country season. Mahamed was imperious when winning the men’s National Cross Country Championship in February at Parliament Hill, seeing off the challenge of 10K road standout Emile Cairess and Olympic triathlon star Alex Yee. But can he improve his current PB of 13:56 by enough to challenge the race favourites this afternoon?
Elite Women: race starts at 3.30pm
An intriguing women’s race is in store with Poppy Tank travelling back from the USA to challenge Samantha Harrison and other top GB runners in the field.
Tank (who hails from Plymouth but left Britain to study and race at the University of Utah) is now a professional athlete for Puma, whereas Nottingham-based Harrison is with Adidas. It promises to be a clash of the titans at the front of the race with the runners holding PBs of 15:45 and 15:48 respectively, and both having stated they’d like to run inside 15:20. A daunting mark but both athletes come into the race in top shape – Harrison running a half marathon best of 68:12 in Berlin just a couple of weeks ago, and Tank arriving in the UK off a big training block with her training team in America.
Another sub-16m runner who will fancy her chances is Eleanor Bolton. Like Mahamed Mahamed in the men’s race, Bolton has enjoyed a stellar cross country season where she won the Northern XC title before finishing second to Jessica Gibbon in the women’s National Cross Country Championship. With a 5K PB of 15:58 Bolton poses a serious threat to the race favourites.
For a dark horse in the race look no further than Megan Davies who won the Podium 5K earlier this year in a shock sub-16 performance running 15:59. Davies has made it known she’s targeting the Scottish Commonwealth Games qualifying mark of 15:46, and in that sort of form will be in the mix at the business end of the race.
🎟️ Spectating at the Comeback 5000 is free.
🕒 Full race timetable:
Race 1 – 12:30pm (17:30 pacer)
Race 2 – 12:50pm (16:40 pacer)
Race 3 – 1:24pm (15:55 pacer)
Race 4 – 1:50pm (15:15 pacer)
Race 5 – 2:15pm (14:40 pacer)
Race 6 – 2:40pm (14:10 pacer)
ELITE MEN – 3:05pm
ELITE WOMEN – 3:30pm
🚊🚗 Travel tips: Travel by public transport is recommended. The nearest station to the track is Battersea Park railway station (served by trains from London Waterloo and Clapham Junction), a couple of minutes walk from the park. Battersea Power tube station, on the Northern Line, is a 5 minute walk away. The 156 and 344 buses also stop very near to the park. Plan your journey using the Transport for London website. On-street parking is available in roads surrounding the park but note local parking restrictions apply.